Muscle Pain When You Exercise Too Much

Although exercise is very important for your health, exercising your muscles too much can actually be counterproductive. You could run into problems if you don't rest enough. 
Muscle Pain When You Exercise Too Much
Elisa Morales Lupayante

Reviewed and approved by the pedagogue in physical education and nutritionist Elisa Morales Lupayante.

Last update: 11 June, 2022

What happens to the body when you exercise your muscles too much? Does it have long-term health consequences? Can it be prevented? These and other questions are asked by people who like to exercise often to look and feel good.

Exercising regularly is highly recommended for both physical and mental health. However, when we incorporate regular exercise into our daily routine in an excessive manner, regardless of gender, age, lifestyle, physical condition, and other factors, instead of obtaining benefits, we obtain the opposite.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults practice at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Or else, they can perform 75 minutes of high vigor each week to strengthen large muscle groups.

In order for this recommendation to provide benefits, apart from having the support of a professional trainer and physician, the characteristics of the body and the previously mentioned factors (age, sex, lifestyle, etc.) must be taken into account.

You might like: 7 Foods to Help Define Your Muscles

What Happens to Muscles When You Exercise Too Much

Muscles are comprised of soft, bendable tissues that allow for the movement, stability, and structure of bone and joints in the body. Additionally, there are many different shapes and sizes of muscles, which represent practically half of a person’s body weight.

After putting muscles through too much exercise, what’s referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, may appear. This is usually caused by contractions of the muscles.

This often occurs in people who haven’t been working out for a long time or due to a seasoned athlete’s sudden increase in the intensity or quantity of exercise they’re doing.

What Causes This Muscle Pain?

Eccentric contractions are what happens when the muscle stretches at the same time as it contracts. A clear example of this is when a person is used to running frequently on flat surfaces and jogs up a hill. The next day, this person will definitely have muscle pain because their body is used to exercising on a flat surface.

This pain is due to micro-tears in the muscles. Additionally, it can appear when you put more strain than usual on your muscles, due to stretching and contracting them excessively when you exercise too much.

If you exercise too much, you run a greater risk of injuring your muscles. Possible injuries could include pulled or even torn muscles. For this reason, the intensity of your exercises has to be appropriate and harmonious. Additionally, make sure your workouts are safe and protective of your physical health.

Recommendations for Preventing Muscle Pain

A man and a woman stretching their legs on bleachers.

1. Don’t ignore the pain

If your’re in pain, lower the intensity of your training sessions. This is the only way to keep your muscles healthy and make sure you’re not running the risk of injuring yourself.

  • If you continue to exercise at such high intensity, your ligaments and joints won’t be able to rest adequately. As a result, you’ll increase your risk for muscle pulls and tears. 

2. Alleviate the pain and rest if you exercise too much

Take a hot bath or enjoy the sauna at the gym. This will help alleviate your pain and relax your muscles. Additionally, the heat will help eliminate toxins and release endorphins.

  • Don’t forget to rest. This is essential if you want the affected muscles to be able to recover.

3. Use cold and hot compresses if you exercise too much

Before beginning your physical activity, put a cold compress on the area where you’re feeling muscle pain. Later, when you finish your workout, place a hot compress in the same place to help the muscles relax.

In addition to this, you can also use gels or creams with calming ingredients, which will be very useful for any discomfort.

4. Add a warm-up routine

To try and prevent muscle pain, make sure you always warm up before starting any workout. Additionally, when you finish your workout, stretch to relax your muscles.

When you’re practicing a certain exercise routine, increase the intensity little by little. It’s also essential to do this exercise frequently.

This way, you’ll rarely suffer from muscle pain. It’s very important to give your body enough time to adapt to greater demands.

People who consistently engage in physical training are less likely to suffer from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which account for 70% of deaths worldwide.

5. Take care of yourself

Exercise too much gym bag full of stuff take care of your body especially your muscles

If you want to get in better shape and improve your emotional and mental health, you must always bear in mind that it’s essential that you love, take care of, and respect your body. Do this in the healthiest and safest way possible.

Don’t demand more from your body than it can give. Anything in excess is harmful, so don’t exercise too much. Establish a varied and complete training program. Your workouts should last at least 30 minutes per day and adapt to your physical condition.

This way, you’ll be able to increase the intensity of your exercise gradually. As a result, you’ll be able to reach the fitness goals you’ve made. Additionally, you’ll successfully increase your strength, toning, flexibility, and volume of your muscles, as well as the endurance of your tendons and ligaments.

Getting some exercise won’t only improve your appearance in general. Additionally, exercise is also very beneficial for your posture. You’ll have more energy to do every single one of your daily activities.

That being said, don’t forget to take care of your muscles: don’t exercise too much!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cheung, K., Hume, P. A., & Maxwell, L. (2003). Delayed onset muscle soreness: Treatment strategies and performance factors. Sports Medicine.
  • Mosteiro-Muñoz, F., & Domínguez, R. (2017). Efectos del entrenamiento con sobrecargas isoinerciales sobre la función muscular. Revista Internacional de Medicina y Ciencias de la Actividad Fisica y del Deporte.
  • Muñoz Ch., Sara. (2002). LESIONES MUSCULARES DEPORTIVAS: DIAGNOSTICO POR IMAGENES. Revista chilena de radiología8(3), 127-132.
  • Hübscher, M., Zech, A., Pfeifer, K., Hänsel, F., Vogt, L., & Banzer, W. (2010, March). Neuromuscular training for sports injury prevention: A systematic review. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
  • Organización Mundial de la Salud. (2004). Estrategia Mundial de la Organización Mundial de la Salud sobre Régimen Alimentario, Actividad Física y Salud. 57 Asamblea Mundial de La Salud – WHA57.172002, 24.
  • OMS. (2010). Informe sobre la situacion de las enfermedades no transmisibles 2010. Organizacion Mundial de La Salud, 1–10.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.